Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crazy Thankful

Ah, yes. Thanksgiving. That special time of year when we get really thoughtful about those who mean the most to us. Those we love, those we miss, those who make a profound difference in our lives...

It's really powerful when you think about it. 

Then, of course, the next day we open up the shopping mosh pit and beat the crap out of each other at Target trying to save $100 on a TV we don't need.


Thankful for Work Stuff
After so many years driving to hospitals for work, I now travel extensively to...wait for it...hospitals!

I know...huge change, but I'm actually thankful for that. Although nothing says "I'm blessed" like switching your commute from a car to an airplane.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Jay, you have a cool gig with a cool company and you get to do all of that traveling!

Sure, I'm thankful...that hotel rooms have's the little things.

Thankful for Work People Stuff
The really important part of Thanksgiving however, is remembering the people in our lives.

- The hiring managers that never get back to us with their feedback.

- The leaders who are afraid of social media. They keep me employed. 

- The wanna be executives who are so full of themselves they miss the point of leading.

- The executives who still think the world knows how good their organizations are because...well..."they're special!" See "permanent employment for Jay" above.

How About You
So many things to be thankful for this year. But most of all...I'm thankful that you all have a sense of humor.

Keep pushing friends...we're going to change the world if it kills us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Friday, November 17, 2017

I Can Handle It (All)

I've been told recently that when work issues get a little complicated, I switch into "I will handle everything mode" in order to resolve the crisis of the day.

Well...that kind of makes me sound like I believe I'm Superman...and for as much as I would LOVE to believe that is true...

...sadly, it's not.

Leading vs. Owning
My role quite honestly is not necessarily to resolve every single issue that pops up. Instead, my role is to ensure every single issue gets resolved. 

That doesn't mean that I am supposed to manage each step of the process; rather, just to provide the appropriate coaching, guidance, and occasional kick-in-the-pants to make sure the work gets done in a world class way.

Leading through issues is harder than owning them.

- Leading means I have to trust others.

- Leading means I have to open my mind to other ideas.

- Leading means I have to go with ideas that I many not necessarily agree with.

Owning can be awesome (and overwhelming.)

- Owning means I can control every single thing at every step.

- Owning means I don't have to listen to anyone's ideas or input.

- Owning means I get all the credit for fixing things.

...and owning is absolutely impossible to be done alone.

The flip-side of all this self-reflection and humility is this...

...what about results?

Sometimes a driving force is not only helpful, but required to achieve those results.
Sometimes a bold decision-maker is the only one that will push the team far enough.
Sometimes ensuring results are achieved is the only way to prove that risk = success.

Sometimes...we have to go far beyond what is safe and comfortable to get across the finish line.

How About You
Where is the balance point for you between trusting the team and driving the team forward? 

Is there something we're all missing; or, is there something that the best leaders do in the moment that allows them to dance on the line between foolish trust and bullying arrogance?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, November 13, 2017


I see the world in a certain way. I don't think that's a bad thing; in fact, I'm not sure how I could see it any other way. I'll always have those unconscious biases playing in the background and influencing how I think, speak and act.

The challenge, of course, is what to do about those biases as I become aware of them? 

My Lens
The lens I use to see the world is clouded with high expectations, little tolerance for excuses, and even less patience when it comes to repeated leadership failures. I'm not trying to be cute here...failings in these areas send me right over the edge. 

That clouded lens of mine has served me well, but it has also been a source of much frustration. So, where is the gap?

The value I place on being a savvy leader is not merely because it is important. Quite the opposite...everyone who is actually paying attention to the practice of effective leadership understands it's importance. 

The challenge lies in helping those leaders who don't understand what it means to be savvy. You know who they are in your organization. They use lots and lots of words, yet somehow for all of their "knowledge" they fail miserably when the moment comes and they have to be savvy.

In the moment.

Without thinking.

Without running to a supervisor for guidance.

Acting with the full knowledge of what is at stake, and the accompanying dynamics that will play out.

...and they have to do it instantly.

Is this difficult to do? Of course it is.

Are we supposed to wait and wait and wait and wait while our "leaders" take an inordinate amount of time to "get up to speed" and be savvy?

Absolutely not.

How About You
Achieving results for our organizations does not happen because we make excuses. We do not grow, open new jobs, pay our people, or create an employer brand that is second to none while simultaneously justifying why the same errors are repeated.

Be the savvy leader your organization needs. Push yourself to be what you've always wanted to be. If you're not ready...don't pretend. Everyone can see through your talk. Instead, be humble, listen, learn, ask questions, and give yourself a chance to take your career to the next level.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sports, Business, and Missing the Big Picture

The link between business and sports is a powerful one. We often refer to our employees as members of the "team"...and we hope that unselfish "play" will result in a "big win" for the company. 

Some claim that sports references go over their heads...yet they drop the "team" label in their next breath.

So, what's happening? Here's where I'm at with sports and business.

I Love Teams
I am a big fan of creating an environment where our employees feel like they are a member of the organization in a meaningful way. The sense of community, the trust, the camaraderie all go a long way to creating a culture that most organizations only give lip-service to.

But...just like with any successful team, it is the leadership that must step up, be a role model, and not just talk about professionalism and culture, they have to live it. For those leaders that fail to do so, what happens?

Morale slumps.

Profit slumps.
Turnover suddenly becomes "a thing."

Leaders who talk too damn much are worthless.

Everyone Is Not A Starter
For those leaders that believe they are suddenly an all-star simply because they have a fancy title, I have some grim news. Teams are rarely made up of superstars. Several marquee players often elevate the play of the rest of the team. 

The same holds true in business. Leaders, just like talented young players, need to learn from the veterans. It is impossible to develop leadership savvy on your own. Paying attention to the details, and learning the nuances of effective leadership that separate the focus on personal convenience, to understanding the larger picture is critical.

The awareness of how important it is to maintain strong relationships in the workplace often separates the "hungry" new leaders who repeatedly fail, from those experienced leaders who could help them develop. The simple rules our parents taught us about crossing the street are helpful here...



How About You
What role do you play "in the room?" Are you the veteran who sees how all of the pieces of your organization and key relationships fit together? Or, are you so hungry to prove that you know what you're doing, that you constantly show you have no idea?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

It's A Secret

Sometimes strange things happen when people are promoted to leadership. They don't turn into creatures of the night or anything cool like that; but they do seem to suddenly feel empowered to hoard information.

Yes, this sounds absolutely ridiculous.
Yes, this builds zero trust.
Yes, this still happens all the time.

They Won't Understand
Early in my career I learned of an executive who "coached" his leaders to edit information that was shared in hospital-wide leadership team meetings. I wondered why anyone would withhold important information....the answer..."the employees won't fully understand..."

Eventually I inherited that same team...

...and shared every bit of information that was rolled out in those leadership meetings.

The Power and the Glory
Let's peel back the layers here. What exactly happens when leaders hoard information? Is it an ego thing? Perhaps a power play? 

How is it that on one hand we rely on our employees to literally handle our business...and in the same moment, not trust them enough to get an update on what is happening, might be happening, or isn't going to happen?

Are we so much smarter than the rest of the team simply because we have a fancy job title?

How About You
Who are the leaders in your organization that are so stuck on their own greatness that they have completely missed the point of being a leader?

Share everything you can as quickly as you can. 100% of the time. You'll be amazed at the trust, credibility and loyalty you create.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Pick Up the Full Armor

Leadership in the digital age is a curious thing. On one hand we try to inspire, motivate, and encourage other leaders to be as impactful as possible. We share positive images from our lives, we call each other out, we push ourselves...all wrapped in an online presentation that seems...just right.

Sometimes Things Go Wrong
Despite all the effort we put into sharing our world online, sometimes that world turns upside down.

Who is to blame?
Why did it happen?
What will happen next?
What should happen next?

My world is no different than yours. Once in a while something happens that gets me all worked up. It's frustrating. It's usually unnecessary. It's always a pain in the neck to resolve.

But, it always gets resolved.

The Most Important Part
Getting things fixed is not always easy. But for most of us, we are not performing brain surgery. We are not responding to a domestic violence call that could turn deadly. We are not on the front-line of a war zone wondering if today will be our last.

We are blessed to have jobs that allow us to not not only be challenged with problems, but we can also resolve them for our organizations; and in so doing, make our organizations even better than they were previously.

It only happens if we are willing to put on the armor and go into our own "battles."

It can only be successful if we are willing to be fully engaged in understanding our role, and then making decisions to keep things moving forward.

It will only matter, if we elevate our leadership presence to one that is passionate and driven and unwavering on the quest to be world-class.

How About You
Do you need to pick up the full armor this week and make a difference? You are not alone. 

The need for bold leadership is everywhere, particularly when life isn't all unicorns and rainbows. Now, get after it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Be Relentless

"I don't care how good you think you are, or how great others think you are - you can improve, and you will. 

Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. 

You must do more. The minute your mind thinks, "Done," your instincts say "Next."
Tim Grover

How are you going to be relentless in your career? Is it playing it safe, avoiding risk like so many of your colleagues around the conference room table? Or, is there another door waiting for you to kick open?

Safe = Death

With so many changes, pressures, and expectations on leaders in today's world of work, taking the same old tired path of safety and excuses is unacceptable. 

There is only one what are you waiting for?

Finding the proper balance between our professional and personal lives is a never ending challenge. The solution is not as complicated as you might think.

Commit to connecting with those you love on a very regular basis (daily, weekly.) Call, visit, text, facetime, tweet, or spend time with doesn't matter how you do it...just make sure they hear from you no matter what. 

Fitness and Nutrition
This might be the most difficult because society has basically allowed us to default to an endless list of excuses so we can avoid being healthy, and eat piles of garbage on our couches night after night.

Stop it. Download MyFitnessPal, start tracking what you put in your body, and for God's sake get up and move each day.

When was the last time you took the stairs and didn't feel like dying after one flight? 

How About You
Life is an amazing adventure...and we can achieve so much more than we ever thought possible. However, corporate cultures, society, and the obsession with "busyness" has created the myth that a relentless attitude is somehow odd.

I'm calling BS on that. Being relentless is the only way to live.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.